What is the legal consequence of Lim Guan Eng’s prosecution?

If you are an MP, and you are convicted of a crime, and if your sentence is not stayed by an order of court, then you cannot continue as an MP.
You know what happened to Najib. Will that happen to Guan Eng?

Prelude – or how this video came to be!

This video – ‘What is the legal consequence of Lim Guan Eng’s prosecution?’ – has a strange story behind it.

The following story describes how this video came to be made:

Last week, we went to the scene at Langkawi’s 101 Paradise.

We took a while to set up the camera and equipment. We waited for the drone and its operator to arrive. It was a horribly hot day. I was drenched in sweat. I had scripted 8 other ‘legal’ subjects and was preparing them to be used in shooting.

Lim Guan Eng was the last thing on my mind – we had not scripted for this subject at all!

After all that preparation, when I was about to start the shooting, a sudden gale-force wind arose.

It threatened to knock off our 25-kg tripod. It also threatened to swamp all our sound equipment with rain.

Unhitching the camera from the tripod, I got it into a shopping plastic bag – barely in time as the winds raced in with driving rain. One piece of sound equipment was blown off into the sea. An assistant, an ex-navy diver, went after it, but the waves carried it away.

The sky became dark.

We fled for cover, all drenched.

I was anxious that the camera’s body and lens would get wet, and mist up. That would have been a disaster.

As for the scripts, they were gone – drenched.

In that weather, the iPad was out of the question.

And so we called it off, and packed up.

The next day, when we got a few minutes free off work, we went back.

Without a script, we had to think of something ‘current, neutral and legal’.

So we chanced upon this subject – one that we had not thought about.

But then the lighting failed. It became purple in colour. And changed to strobe mid-shooting. That seemed to attract a particular kind of fly, which kept pestering the camera and my face. I blew at it many times: and had to re-shoot the same sentence thrice, while avoiding the insect.

By the time we were part-way through, it had become dark, we had no lighting, and were forced to stop.

I observed all this ruefully in post-production, and had to excise a great deal of footage.

At the end of editing, I thought the footage was unusable. It is the editor who saved what you now see: It was what was left!

Necessity is the mother of Invention – an old maxim, yes, but applicable to a new meaning!

I hope you enjoy the video.

[1] What happens when an election is called?

If the sentence is stayed, then you can continue as an MP. But the second principle you have to remember is if you are convicted and your sentence is stayed but an election is called you cannot continue as an MP.

So, the important point is whether an election has been called. But if there is no election, then you can continue.

[2] Parallel with Najib’s trial

Let us consider this impending trial of Lim Guan Eng and see whether we can draw any parallels from the trial of Dato’ Seri Najib.

It seems to me that Najib took a tactical approach to his case.

If the matter is delayed by various applications, then what will happen is like a series of present cases which are going on now against the various leaders of the previous regime.

In Najib’s trial, the strategy that was used was they would take every particular kind of objection that they could. And in this they succeeded.

So, no matter how fast the prosecution moved, it took 2 years.

But at the end of the day, if there is a conviction and there is a Stay, Najib can still attend parliament.

That maybe one route that Lim Guan Eng can take.

But on the other hand, if he takes a very quick strategy meaning he allows a trial to proceed very quickly, and an election is called, if there is a conviction before the election then the law does not allow Lim Guan Eng to stand for election.

[3] What happens if there is no election? 

On the other hand, if no election is called and Lim Guan Eng is convicted whether he moves on with his case swiftly or slowly as the case may be, then if he is convicted, he can take a stay and he can still attend Parliament.

Of course, if he is acquitted, then there’s no problem.

[4] Can the Prime minister delay elections?

Now, the prime minister cannot delay the elections for too long. Pundits assess the likely election date to be sometime end of this year or early next year. It also depends on the monsoons, the school holidays, the availability of schools as election centres and so forth. As to the merits of what will happen to Lim Guan Eng and his charge, no one can say.

[5] The evidence

All depends on the evidence, doesn’t it?

If the evidence is firm, that’s fine.

If the evidence is infirm then we ask ourselves this question on what basis were these charges brought?

There is a view that if a prima facie case can be made against Lim Guan Eng, the prosecution is entitled to charge him.

I have a different view.

In my opinion, you cannot commence an action against someone in criminal law unless you have strong evidence that you can secure a conviction.

So that remains to be seen.

[6] Summary

Dear friends, let me summaries what I explained, above.

(1). If Lim Guan Eng’s trial proceeds, it all depends on whether an election is called.

(2). If an election is called quickly, and if Lim Guan Eng is convicted before the elections, despite the fact that he has got a stay he cannot stand for an election.

(3). If he can get a stay and no election is called, he can continue as an MP.

[7] What will happen?

That is the position and I don’t think anyone of us can guess what is going to happen henceforward.

We shall have to wait for the proceedings and for the trial to begin.

You May Also Like

Aaron Abraham, the Law Lecturer, and a difficult question

Do we have a Speaker in Parliament?

Will the MPs vote obeying their oath, or party lines?

Have you ever heard of the Art of the Disappearing Counsel?